By Nick Authenrieth
Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, is one of Marvel's oldest and most enduring heroes. Whether he's fighting business competitors as his billionaire alter ego or the forces of evil as a crimson and gold superhero, Iron Man is a financial and flying force to be reckoned with. And don't think Hollywood hasn't noticed.
Iron Man: Viva
Las Vegas art
With the Iron Man movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges and Terrence Howard in supporting roles slated for May 2008, it's only natural to have some crossover. Well, Iron Man director Jon Favreau and former IRON MAN artist Adi Granov had a meeting of the minds.
Granov's vivid and realistic imagery caught the attention of Favreau, who brought the native Bosnian on board to work on the big-budget blockbuster. "I worked on the film as an illustrator and concept designer," says Granov. "I also art directed some of the 3-D modeling and generally consulted on the vision of Iron Man. It's been fantastic, really." And his collaboration with Favreau paved the way for their VEGAS team-up.
"The whole thing basically came together after I asked Jon if he'd be interested to write a comic book," Granov says of the IRON MAN: VIVA LAS VEGAS mini-series. "Over many months, while working on the film, we kept the idea alive and eventually sat down and hammered out the specifics."
Iron Man: Viva
Las vegas art
This back and forth often makes the distinction between movie and comic difficult, but Granov assures that he and Favreau have decided on one particular costume for Iron Man in their mini-series. "The movie suit is meant to have a similar feel to my previous comic work, but is an all original design. At a glance it has the same presence but it's a far superior, highly functional armor. In the comic we are using the movie design," says Granov.
Tom Brevoort, Executive Editor at Marvel Comics knows better than anyone the process involved in getting a project like VIVA LAS VEGAS off the ground. "I think this is a great, unique opportunity, one that's only become possible with this, the first actual Marvel Studios film release," says Brevoort. "By calling upon the contributions of Jon Favreau and Adi Granov, who have been so instrumental, each in his own way, with the making of the motion picture, we're assured that IRON MAN: VIVA LAS VEGAS will faithfully translate the spirit of the movie to the printed page, and provide filmgoers with a perfect next-stop destination when they walk out of their local theater and still have a hankerin' for some additional armored action."
Granov's work on
Iron Man #3
Where the comic book continuity and story is concerned, Brevoort knows exactly where the mini-series stands in regards to the rest of the Marvel Universe. "We'll be releasing this project under the MARVEL KNIGHTS banner, which means that it'll stand apart from contemporary continuity as a stand-alone evergreen story."
For Adi Granov, this project is not just business as usual. His work with other writers like Warren Ellis is vastly different than that with Favreau, simply due to the amount of his involvement in the project, from artwork to the specifics of the plot. "This is a different project for me because I am much more involved with every aspect of it as opposed to being given a fully completed script," Granov explains. "It's a dream project really, a book with very few limitations and a playground for us to tell as entertaining of an action story as we can."
"To start with, we decided what kind of book we wanted to do, agreed on the characters and the basic idea, and continue to figure out every aspect of it as we go," Granov adds. "Jon writes a story outline which I break down into pages and panels, and figure out if we need more or less story, and he adjusts the text accordingly. I then draw tight layouts adding various details that I feel work with the story, and based on that, Jon writes the dialogue. Very much a back and forth process."
For Granov, much like VIVA LAS VEGAS, the Iron Man movie was something unlike any other project he's worked on, an experience he credits Jon Favreau and his team for bringing to fruition. "I had a lot more freedom to do my thing than I would've ever thought possible on such a high-profile project," he notes. "It really helped that Jon is very interested in the design and very much into the whole idea development process. The art team on the film was fantastic and our vision of what we tried to achieve translated exactly to the finished product, which is remarkable."
on Iron Man #1
While the movie experience is entirely unique and much of the Iron Man suit is computer generated, Granov's formal art training has supercedesd his computer generated art skills for this project, although both schools came into play. "I don't think my experience with computers had as much importance as my understanding of three dimensional volumes which come from sculpture and study of shape and form," Granov notes. "As in my comic work, in my designs I try to achieve a level of believability that whatever it is I am designing could, on some level, exist in the real world, even if it is a flying mechanical suit of armor."
So even though Iron Man is on his way to the silver screen, the sum and substance of his character has not been swept under the rug. Tony Stark has some friends like Adi Granov, Jon Favreau and Tom Brevoort in his corner that will see to that. Stay tuned to Marvel.com, your first and only stop for all things Iron Man, for more on this blockbuster project as it develops.